April 11, 2021

Chin Refugees Sell Traditional Food ‘Sabuti’ In Malaysia

At least 10 makeshift stalls have been set up by Chin refugees in efforts to make ends meet in Malaysia, selling ‘meat hominy corn soup’ called sabuti, one of the Chin traditional foods.

A samp-like soup mixed with meat, locally known as sabuti, is one of the most common traditional foods consumed mainly for lunch among the Hakha, Falam and Tiddim Chins.
“We are doing quite well. Sometimes, we have foreign customers and it is good that they can at least try our traditional food. We are very busy during the weekends,” Mai Ni Ni who runs one of the stalls in Kuala Lumpur told Chinland Guardian.
Sabuti, a Chin soup consisting of yellow or red hominy corn and meat cooked in stock, sometimes thickened with lard, boned meat or other innards, goes well with various sorts of condiments including celery, coriander, spring onion, onion, garlic and ginger salad.
Salt and hot ground chillies, green or dry, are the two main seasonings. Some people also use other flavour enhancers such as Ajinomoto’s monosodium glutamate.
The price for a bowl of sabuti is 4 Malaysian ringgits and 5 ringgits with a strip of fried beef biltong. In Hakha, the capital of Chin State, it is selling for 200 Burmese kyats, according to Rangon-based The Morning Star newsletter of June, 2008.
“I don’t see any shops selling sabuti in Mandalay and Rangoon. It is great to see that it is available in Malaysia. It really reminds me of home,” a Chin refugee in Malaysia told Chinland Guardian.
The word ‘buti’ of sabuti, where ‘sa’ means ‘meat’, can be used as a suffix, depending upon the kind of ingredients mixed in the soup. When the soup is cooked with vegetables, then it is called ‘anbuti’. Sabuti, which is in Hakha, is called ‘vainim’ in Falam and ‘sa leh vainimchiim huan’ in Tiddim dialects.
There are an estimated 30,000 Chin refugees in Malaysia, according to a report by Chin Human Rights Organisation. Like other ethnic groups in Burma, the Chin people have been suffering from the callous brutalities of Burma’s ruthless military regime for decades, prompting a mass exodus from their native place.

Van Biak Thang
17 September, 2008

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